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The Washington, D.C. theater that was expected to host the stage play based on anti-Trump text messages between disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI counsel Lisa Page has backed out of the project, citing “violent threats.”
The play’s writer, conservative filmmaker Phelim McAleer, told Fox News he was notified on Tuesday morning that Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. was canceling next month’s performance.
“They are not going to shut us down,” McAleer told Fox News on Thursday.
PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 13: Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain arrive to the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Winter 2018 TCA Press Tour held at Tournament House on January 13, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/Getty Images) (Michael Tran/Getty Images)
Dean Cain, a frequent Fox News guest who is best known for playing Clark Kent/Superman in the TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” will play Peter Strzok and actress Kristy Swanson, known for her roles in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Big Daddy,” is set to play Page in the play called “FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers.”
Strzok and Page had an affair before Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the Russia investigation.
The dramatized stage reading will use only the exact texts and will be based on transcripts of Strzok and Page’s answers to prolonged questioning in private congressional hearings. The script is said to be 100 percent verbatim and the staged reading was scheduled to premiere at the Mead Theater space in the Studio Theater complex in Washington, D.C. on June 13. It was also going to be filmed and released online.
DEAN CAIN TO PLAY FBI AGENT AND TRUMP NEMESIS PETER STRZOK IN PLAY
The performance is meant to expose “what was really going on in the FBI in the run-up to the investigation into the alleged Trump/Russia collusion as senior FBI agents became increasingly alarmed that Donald Trump might win the election,” according to a press release.
“We have not got a new venue as of yet,” McAleer told Fox News on Thursday.
“I’m confident that there must be some people in D.C. who like the truth and that we will find a venue.”
He added, “If nothing emerges then we will put it on on the pavement outside the Studio/Mead Theater.”
In a statement sent to Fox News, a Studio Theatre spokesman said the theater cancelled its contract because “Media reports have made us aware of undisclosed details about the event.”
“Additionally, there have been open and violent threats made against the theater and event participants. Studio has an institutional responsibility to consider the safety of our staff, patrons, community, event organizers and attendees. These concerns must be paramount.”
The spokesman did not elaborate on the details of the threats and did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for more information.
However, speaking on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday Swanson addressed a threat saying, “There was a death threat last week on Twitter to lock the doors and burn down the theater.”
“That’s unfortunate, Nobody wants to see something like that.”
When asked if the play will go on Swanson answered, “Yeah, the show is going to go on. We are switching theaters at this point. You know, I’m an actor and I’m going to be playing Lisa Page. I look forward to playing her as written by her actually. All of it is her text messages and her testimony.”
When asked what made her want to participate in the play Swanson said, “I think it’s a story that people need to hear.”
Former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page and fired FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok exchanged anti-Trump text messages during their time at the bureau. (AP, File)
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz uncovered a series of anti-Trump text messages between Strzok and Page. Both were assigned to work on the special counsel’s team in 2017 to investigate Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election.
Page served on Mueller’s team on a short detail, returning to the FBI’s Office of General Counsel in July 2017. Strzok, though, was removed from the team and was reassigned to the FBI’s Human Resources Division. Prior to serving in the special counsel’s office, Strzok was a top agent in the bureau’s counterintelligence division.
Strzok is the FBI agent who, in July 2016, opened the FBI’s initial Russia investigation, which was nicknamed “Crossfire Hurricane” inside the bureau.
Page resigned from the bureau in May of 2018, and Strzok eventually was fired in August 2018.
NEW STRZOK-PAGE TEXTS REVEAL OTHERS WERE ‘LEAKING LIKE MAD’ IN LEAD UP TO TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE
Horowitz, who at the time was investigating the bureau’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, found that some bureau officials “appeared to mix political opinion with discussions about the MYE investigation.” MYE refers to Midyear Exam, which was the FBI’s code word for the Clinton probe.
Many of McAleer’s projects have been controversial, including his play “Ferguson,” about the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. McAleer said he faced “similar censorship” when he put on that play in Los Angeles.
On Strzok and Page, McAleer said, “I was shocked when I read the texts and their answers in private congressional hearings. Most people have no idea what the people behind the Russia investigation were saying when they thought no one was looking. People need to know about these texts and how the establishment tried to subvert democracy because they didn’t like who the public had chosen.”
In response to the cancellation, McAleer said, “This is censorship of facts that they want to keep hidden from the American people. And they are hiding behind ‘safety concerns’ in order to squash diversity of opinions in the theater.”
“It’s pathetic,” he continued. “On its website the Studio theater claims it ‘has carved out a distinctive place for itself…. by producing plays of big ideas…—plays that challenge assumptions, trigger conversations.’ Then the first time someone like myself tries to put on a play that challenges assumptions and triggers conversation they run a mile.”
McAleer then said, “The people who run the Studio/Mead Theater are hypocrites and they are cowards, scared of a play that tells the truth and might challenge their cozy bubble.”
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“The staged reading will go ahead,” McAleer added. “It will be filmed and released online and everyone will get to see the truth about how the upper echelons of the FBI tried to subvert democracy. This censorship will not succeed.”
The event is being financed by a crowdfunding campaign, according to the press release.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
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